The Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference – A New Name

The Wine Tourism Conference, in advance of its sixth annual event in 2016, is changing its name to the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference.

WMTC16smallChanging one’s event name could be seen as a pretty big deal. In reality, the change just reflects what the conference is already about: wine marketing and wine tourism.

In fact, in many ways the two are so entwined it is hard to separate them. Wine tourism, of course, is simply the visitation of wine regions by travelers. From an industry conference perspective, our goal has always been to provide valuable advice on how to grow and improve one’s own wine tourism offering. And growing wine tourism is all about effective marketing.

And so wine marketing has been a key component of the conference since the beginning. This past November, for example, we had content on digital marketing, no-cost guerrilla marketing, promoting your wine tourism business beyond your region, email marketing, and more.

We do think wine tourism is a special component of the wine industry. Selling out the cellar door is a hugely important revenue stream for many, many wineries and focusing on tourism is a critical way to grow that revenue stream. So we will continue to offer lots of content focused on wine tourism but will also continue to provide what we think is top-notch marketing content specific to the wine industry.

Wine Tourism Conference: Moving From Virginia to Texas

We have wrapped up the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference in Loudoun County, Virginia and your survey results are in! The conference:

  • Garnered the highest overall rating from attendees in the past three years and was on par with our first two conferences in Napa and Sonoma
  • Received the highest overall Content rating ever
  • Had the highest overall Organization rating ever

However, our goal is to constantly improve and we have made a number of changes to make the Texas Hill Country conference the best ever, including:

  • The lunch at local Virgina winery Stone Tower was a big hit and we have doubled up by planning TWO lunches at local wineries as part of the 2016 conference.
  • The content system we used in 2015 was very well effective and we are going to do the same in 2016. This will start with a Call for Content in January and then a vote among our alumni of possible topics.
  • We continually get calls to make sure content is specific and not general. We have already revised the Speaker Packets we send to all presenters to make sure everyone is on the same page in delivering actionable business information pertaining to the wine tourism industry and including real-life examples.
  • The international presence having an Australian keynote speaker and five speakers representing their countries on a Perspectives of Wine Tourism panel was a hit and we hope to replicate this in 2016.
  • We had distinct calls for extra events with more lead-time given. The good news is we now have a pre-conference excursion, post-conference excursion, pre-conference dinner, and post-conference dinner already set up and available for you to reserve. Keep in mind that while these cost extra, the conference includes two lunches and a dinner, which is pretty nice given the price!

Speaking of the cost of the conference, please remember we are pricing on a sliding scale in 2016 depending on when you register:

  • $295: Through December 31, 2015
  • $325: Through April 30, 2016
  • $350: Through September 30, 2016
  • $395: After September 30, 2016

So if you register this month, your cost is only $295 and that includes the three meals plus great content and networking!

Wine Tourism Conference 2015 Wrap Up and Presentations

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We had such a wonderful time in Virginia and now that we have all of the available presentations, we wanted to share them with you.

Find all of the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference presentations HERE

We have received a lot of great compliments and constructive feedback from our 2015 alumni. As we look forward to next year in Fredericksburg, Texas Hill Country, we are getting a good bit of our agenda planned out and set up early so folks can get on board as early as possible.

Check out the 2016 Agenda HERE  

For 2016, we are again going to offer pre-conference workshops for those looking for an intense day of learning. We will have new experts to throw down knowledge but most of the topics will remain the same as we got great feedback on the intention of the sessions.

See what we have so far HERE

Keep in mind that early registration for the 2016 Wine Tourism Conference is a GOOD idea…

  • $295: Through December 31, 2015
  • $325: Through April 30, 2016
  • $350: Through September 30, 2016
  • $395: After September 30, 2016

Ready to rock? Go right ahead and register HERE

Make sure to stay tuned with us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on sponsors, speakers and MORE!

Thank You for a Fantastic 2015 Wine Tourism Conference

To all our partners, sponsors, presenters and friends….THANK YOU for a wonderful conference this year!

I will be posting a recap and some highlights of the conference, plus of course the available presentations after Thanksgiving week on our website and sending all attendees an email with access to those.

As we start to turn into the New Year, we will continue to plan out #WTC16 in Texas Hill Country! This is going to be an outstanding location and the conference will be packed full of some new and exciting content. I will post updates to our website starting with this years presentations and then in January 2016, we will open up a call for content to get some ideas and suggestions flowing from you all for the 2016 agenda. I loo forward to hearing some new ideas as I have a few of my own!

Make sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new developments. If you are and attendee, please request to join our Wine Tourism Conference Alumni Facebook group so you can get new information and connect with your friends!

Lastly, don’t forget to register EARLY!  This year we are offering a huge discount for those who get registered before December 31, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and thank you again for a great #WTC15

Wine Tourism Conference Heading to Texas in 2016!

We are extremely excited to announce the Wine Tourism Conference will be heading to Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country on November 8-10, 2016. Registration is open now. See below for early registration discounts.

The facts about the Texas wine industry and wine tourism are impressive:

  • Texas has 3,500 acres of vineyards and 350 bonded wineries according to the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association (TWiGGA)
  • The Texas wine industry has a $1.9 billion annual impact a third of that is due to wine tourism
  • There are around 900,000 wine-related tourists in the state each year
  • Texas was recently selected as a Top Ten Wine Travel destination in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine
  • While neither Texans nor we think the comparison is apt, both Southern Living Magazine and CNN have called Texas “the next Napa”

What these bullet points don’t tell you is what I saw when I visited Texas Hill Country in September. The wine world there is simply rocking. The Texas Hill Country is nicely situated a couple hours from both Austin and San Antonio, giving it two huge bases for visitors but being far enough away to maintain a rural character. The small town of Fredericksburg, which will host our conference, is a cute town with tons to do and fits perfectly the need for a central hub to wine country. Most impressively, almost every winery I visited in the area not only served great wines but said they were full to the brim with wine tourists, barely able to keep up. It was truly impressive.

At the risk of gushing, which is not my nature, I can also say you will be amazed at the hospitality. Everyone I met warmly welcomed me to Texas and was truly excited about the Wine Tourism Conference coming to the area … even though it was still 14 months away. Check out this lineup of local partners and incredible events:

  • We are very proud and lucky to have Texas Hill Country Wineries, the Fredericksburg Convention & Visitors Center, the GoTexan program of the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association on board as local partners.
  • Woodrose Winery will be hosting everyone for lunch one day and Becker Vineyards is teaming with the local Frost Bank to host lunch a second day, giving us two opportunities to get out and see the area
  • In addition to two lunches, we have a fantastic dinner included at nearby Luckenbach Texas, where we’ll have dinner, wine tasting, and dancing to a local two-step band
  • We have optional dinners at an extra cost planned at William Chris Vineyards on the first night after the Expo and a visit to Fall Creek Vineyards and the legendary Salt Lick BBQ on Thursday night.
  • There is plenty to do in the local area and we are offering great excursions and activities for spouses and families, including a tour of LBJ’s ranch, hiking in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a visit of Wildseed Farms, plus winery visits and shopping in Fredericksburg. See the Events page for all the events and activities.
  • In addition, we’ll have the normal excellent content including pre-conference workshops on Tuesday, breakout sessions, and a keynote speaker.

We are offering a significant discount for our early registrants.  Get your name in the hat for WTC Texas before 2016 and save:

  • $295: Through December 31, 2015
  • $325: Through April 30, 2016
  • $350: Through September 30, 2016
  • $395: After September 30, 2016

Having been there recently, I very much believe you will be impressed with Texas hospitality, the Hill Country Wine area, and the wine tourism boom that is happening in the Fredericksburg area. I hope you can join us and we’ll get to work on creating excellent content soon! WTC16 Registration

Wine Tourism Conference | Day 1 Morning Review

The 2015 Wine Tourism Conference is off and running on a fantastic morning with our speaking and panel sessions. This year brings a diverse crowd of attendees and topics digging in to the root of wine tourism and it’s potential.

Spanning topics from global influences on the wine industry and tourism, to marketing and operations performance, Wine Tourism is pushing forward in a positive way. The basics have been covered and this year’s group is forging ahead to learn more and more on how to promote the most FUN form of tourism around.  A big thank you to our partners, presenters and attendees for gathering at Landsdown Resort today (and tomorrow) to synergize learning and knowledge amongst some fantastic folks!

Today’s agenda is packed full of great content and activities. Looking forward to our lunch excursion hosted at Stone Tower Winery with transportation sponsored by Reston Limousine and lunch is sponsored by Loudoun Virginia Economic Development.

After our afternoon breakout sessions, we will have a conference dinner at the resort where our attendees can sip on a variety of Virginia’s finest wines in the Lansdowne Ballroom and meet Virginia winemakers before enjoying a three-course dinner featuring Loudoun’s award winning wines. Sponsored by Virginia Tourism Corporation, The Virginia Wine Marketing Office, and the Loudoun Wineries Association.

Got Wine on Your Mind This Evening? The #WTC15 Registration, Expo and Wine Tasting is Open for Conference Attendees Tonight

Make sure to come by this evening and enjoy some fun, great wines and meet new friends at #WTC15 in the Terrace Ballroom. We are excited to have some awesome sponsors and attendees here and looking forward to starting our full blown conference tomorrow.

Our Wine Tourism Expo & Opening Night Wine Reception is going to be a great time to check in to the conference.   Enjoy the Wine Tourism Expo and opening reception presented by Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media.  Meet all our sponsors and enjoy wines from across North America and the world.  This is a unique opportunity to try wines from New Jersey, Texas, and Michigan as well as West Coast favorites, East Coast standouts, and wines from other countries.

We will have tables where people are pouring wine and other folks there to share knowledge and information.  We also have a few tourism boards on hand with their partner wineries.

Make sure to stop by to meet and taste with our main conference sponsor, Visit Loudoun who will be pouring an “epicurience blend”, an award-winning collaborative wine with Bluemont Vineyards, Tarara Winery, and Breaux Vineyards

Make sure to check out some of our other sponsors and associations below!

Virginia Wine Marketing

Fauquier County Department of Economic Development

Garden State Growers

Glass House Winery

Oregon Wine Board

Ontario’s South Coast Wineries and Growers Association

Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association

Monticella Wine Trail

Visit South Jersey

Slovenian Wine Tourism Association

Norfolk County Tourism and Economic Development

Visit Santa Ynez

Wine Tours Toronto Inc.

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Colorado Wine Industry Development Board

Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

Reston Limo

Chatterbox Wine Marketing

Sacramento International Airport

Kentucky Grape & Wine Council

Wine Buzz



Sneak Peek! The 2015 Wine Tourism Conference is Officially in Full Swing!


Our pre-conference workshops are kicked off with intensive sessions going on this morning including Digital Marketing for the Wine Industry and Beer Tourism with a panel featuring some of the leaders in the beer industry.

Here is a sneak peek into our presentations today:

Digital Marketing for Wine Tourism

Kicking off this workshop is wine industry expert Gary Nealon of Wine Trail Adventures, whose specific expertise is using digital marketing to increase sales. His presentation was packed full of great tactics an tips to increase traffic and promote your brand with a bang! Also speaking this morning is Nicole Skuba of BlueTreeDigital showing us great information on branding, representing your company and products plus valuable information on SEO and how to properly publish content to maximize rankings.

Follow Wine Trail Adventures and Blue Tree Digital  on Facebook and Twitter to find out more about their companies and expertise!

Wine Trail Adventures  Wine Trail Adventures FB

Blue Tree Digital  Blue Tree Digital FB

Beer Tourism

Our other workshop this morning is a Beer Tourism panel discussing all aspects of beer tourism, with a focus on increasing visitors and improving experiences at the brewery level and promoting a region as a good place to visit for beer tourism. The panel is comprised of the following experts (links to their Facebook pages are below):

Mariah Calagione from Dogfish Head brewery;

Virginia Brewers Guild Tourism & Marketing Committee Co-Chair

Kevin O’Connor from O’Connor Brewing;

Margo Knight Metzger, Executive Director of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, and

Tommy Miller of Richmond Brewery Tours.

Make sure to stick with us this afternoon for 3 workshops offered and then of course our Wine Expo at 5pm in the Terrace Ballroom.

Thank to Lansdown Resort and of course to our experts for getting WTC15 kicked off today!

Stay tuned for more updates here or follow us on Twitter to see up to the moment happenings!

Maryland Wine – a contributing post from our partners at the Maryland Wine Association

A big THANK YOU to our sponsors over at the Maryland Wineries Association for writing a contributing blog post for #WTC15.  We look forward to meeting all the great wineries and tourism associations who promote and support their local wines in just a few weeks!

MARYLAND WINE – Written by the Maryland Wineries Association

Welcome to the world of Maryland Wine! Maryland has over 75 wineries producing 400+ award-winning wines in every style.

Red wine drinkers will love our Bordeaux varieties—such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec­—plus, Syrah, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir, our many Meritage blends and beyond.

The state’s white wine offerings are extensive, spanning all styles…from crisp to rich to off-dry. Enjoy Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Albariño, Vidal Blanc, Seyval, Viognier and Traminette, to name just a few. Find anything from fine aged port, late-harvest to fruit wines, sparkling, ciders, and more…truly something for all palates.

Tour our wine country to experience Maryland’s fine territory and learn why so many locals ask for Maryland Wine.

Maryland Wine is….

Historic. The “Father of American Viticulture,” John Adlum is recognized for starting the cultivation of wine in our region in 1798.  John Adlum began harvesting grapes in Havre de Grace and shared his love of wine and viticulture with Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.  Adlum and Jefferson connected over a shared dedication to vine cultivation and continued the friendship throughout the span of their careers, as well as sharing wines and vineyard tips.

While viticulture was introduced to the Maryland area during the colonial times, Maryland winemaking as an art took off after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, at the end of Prohibition, specifically with the vines planted by Baltimore’s Evening Sun editor Philip Wagner at Boordy Vineyards in 1945.  As the industry grew, so did the varietals and types of wines created.  The traditions of meads and fruit wines grew with the success of Linganore Winecellars, and Ham Mowbray introduced French traditional varietals as well as creating the first American ice wine!

Authentic. We are a craft industry; the titles “winemaker” and “chief glass-washer” are often interchangeable.  When visiting, there is a good chance that you will meet the families responsible for the award-winning wine in your glass.

Local. Great win can be found throughout the world, and the wines of Maryland are no exception.  Our wines are being highlighted in competitions, restaurant wine lists and national publications.  Wineries source grapes, fruit and honey from growers throughout the state and region, and many grow their own on acres of estate vineyards.  If it says “Maryland” on the label, it’s home-grown.

Superb. Check to see the many commendations awarded to our wines from the Governor’s Cup Competition, Winemasters Choice Awards and national and international competitions.

Come meet the folks at Maryland Wine Association and lots of other great wine promoting partners at the 2016 Wine Tourism Conference in Leesburg Loudoun County, VA November 18-20.  Also be sure to check out our informative pre-con workshops on Wednesday November 17th


7 Not-to-Miss Experiences at the WTC in Loudoun County, VA

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If you have already registered for the Wine Tourism Conference 2015 then good for you!!  Check out the blog post below from our partners and Loudoun experts at @VisitLoudoun to get some insider info on what will make your visit to the WTC15 conference even better!  Of course, if you have not yet registered….then you need to hop to it and get in the groove of what is going to be a great learning opportunity and loads of fun!

  1. Virginia Vino Veritas

With more than 250 wineries throughout the state, Virginia is the fifth largest wine region in the country and with over 40 wineries in Loudoun, the Wine Tourism Conference is the perfect place to experience Virginia wine. During the conference you’ll have the chance to taste Loudoun and Virginia wine and visit one of Loudoun’s largest wineries, Stone Tower, which is just outside Leesburg and recently opened a new tasting room overlooking the mountains. While in town, be sure to try some of our famous Virginia varietals like Viognier or Norton.

  1. Take a ride on the LoCo Ale Trail

Virginians have been producing wine for over 400 years but now the craft beer scene is making waves across the state. Loudoun is home to 15 craft breweries and the new LoCo Ale Trail . Take a break from vino while in town to sample small batch, hand-crafted local brews and learn more about the industry during the Craft Beer Marketing workshop.

  1. Lessons from Around the Globe

Throughout the Wine Tourism Conference, learn from wine professionals from around the world, including Australia, China and Spain. Attend the Keynote Address to hear Sally Cope share her success story as the Executive Officer of Ultimate Winery Experiences working with Tourism Australia. Learn about China’s interest in wine tourism from President and Chairman of California-China Wine Trading, Christopher Beros and about the successes and challenges of wine tourism in Chile, Spain, Portugal, and even Slovenia.

  1. Sneak peek of Loudoun and Virginia Wine Country

Kick off the Wine Tourism Conference at some of Loudoun’s boutique wineries! Register for the pre-conference winery tour to meet winemakers crafting award-winning wines and enjoy vintage Virginia views of vineyards set amidst rolling hills and scenic vistas at Fabbioli Cellars, Winery 32 and Tarara Winery.

  1. Dine like a local

From farm-to-table and gourmet meals to hometown eats and local hotspots, Loudoun’s culinary scene offers something unique. Our Local Favorites list features popular barbecue, burger and pizza joints and our Destination Restaurant program highlights locally grown products and unique experiences that range from eating in a restored mill to dining under the stars in a glass conservatory on a farm. In addition, the conference includes two lunches and one dinner and we have an optional dinner on Friday evening.

  1. Channeling Loudoun spirits

Loudoun isn’t just for wine and beer lovers, there are a growing number of cideries and distilleries that now call it home. Enjoy internationally recognized spirits at Catoctin Creek Distillery, which is powered by solar panels and is Loudoun’s first distillery since prohibition, or visit Virginia’s smallest ABC store at Mt. Defiance Distillery in Middleburg, the heart of Virginia hunt country.

  1. It’s more than collecting cards

The main reason for having a Wine Tourism Conference is for those in the industry to learn and grow together as wine and marketing professionals. Attending this conference gives you the opportunity to learn about digital marketing, management, agricultural tourism, technology and so much more. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with winemakers, tasting room staff and tourism professionals at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort. You’ll learn just as much outside of the sessions as you will in the classroom!

For more information on Loudoun, visit We look forward to welcoming you in a few weeks!